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  1. I would of agreed with you completely at the beginning of the post season. But after watching the entire post season for the Rangers and seeing Elvis come up big time and time again, there’s no chance I move him. This post season reminds me of what Jamey Newberg wrote about Elvis after seeing him as a young prospect:
    “It’s not really a swagger that Andrus has.  It’s more of a comfortable magnetism.  He reminds me of a feature tailback, or a really good cover corner, with that smile that says he knows he’s going to beat you more often than not.  He’s going to be a leader.”

    He’s earned the right to bat 1st and I don’t do anything to mess with the comfortable-ness the Rangers have going. May not be the right moves based on the numbers, but it’s a small enough difference to not be worth the risk of a major disruption.

    Comment by Jake — October 25, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

  2. Are you crazy? You’d mess with the lineup that got you through the regular season as the AL West Champs and into the WS as the AL Champion? I know there is something to be said for the statistics and I usually quote them myself when framing an arguement, but you have to be posting this to get a reaction as I’m sure you don’t think they should pull Andrus from the leadoff spot at this point in the season.

    Comment by Bleacher GM — October 25, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

  3. My God. He’s only got, what, 17 hits this postseason? Oh I forgot what website I was reading.

    Comment by Greg — October 25, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

  4. I wrote the same thing toward the end of the regular season: if the Rangers had wanted to maximize their offensive output, Kinsler would’ve been a better fit at lead-off. But quantitatively speaking, Matt, how much does it actually matter, now that we’re down to a seven-game series — and how much would that gain be offset by whatever psychosocial stuff would emerge out of the lineup juggling, especially after Andrus’ performance through the first two postseason series?

    Now, looking forward to next season: that’s when it gets interesting.

    Comment by Josh Garoon — October 25, 2010 @ 5:54 pm

  5. This. I agree Elvis is not a stud offensively and his postseason numbers are an SSS issue. He even makes dumb decisions on the basepaths. But saberness aside (am I allowed to do that here), you can’t change it up this deep. If the Rangers had put another hitter in the leadoff spot earlier, I’d be inclined to agree. Not to mention, if/when he gets on base, he really messes w/ RHP heads.

    Comment by booyakasha — October 25, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

  6. The difference between 2009 Elvis and 2010 Elvis is six HRs and five 3Bs. Everything else looks generally the same. From 6.7% HR/FB in ’09 to 0% in ’10.

    I realize he doesn’t have a lot of power, but I think that 0% might have some regression potential in there somewhere.

    Comment by intricatenick — October 25, 2010 @ 6:11 pm

  7. Andrus had 133 fewer PA in 2009, so the comparison isn’t exactly apples-to-apples, there. Also, Andrus’ early-season patience was promising, and buoyed his BB% throughout the year. But as others have noted, Andrus rarely pulled the ball this season, and it certainly seemed as if he was sacrificing power in order to try to get on base. I hope he does flash more pop next season, but I don’t think that’s a guarantee.

    I don’t think the Rangers will move him out of the lead-off spot next year, but saberliciously, it would make some sense.

    Comment by Josh Garoon — October 25, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

  8. Young is a good hitter, yes, but he also has a tendency to ground into double plays. Having a speedster that can steal second base hitting in front of him to eliminate the GIDP might come in handy someday. Then you’d have to figure out how many more GIDPs Young would hit into with Kinsler at leadoff vs. Andrus, and how many more runs Kinsler would score with the occasional leadoff HR, etc. I’m too lazy to figure out those numbers.

    Comment by Inkara1 — October 25, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

  9. Isn’t leadoff the ideal place for a speedy/decent OBA but low SLG player? Where else is his inability to drive the ball going to have the least effect, where does his speed create the most problems (especially against Timmy)?

    Comment by Trebecois — October 25, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

  10. Andrus has been getting on by pure luck. Everything seems to be an infield hit. Although he has speed, he’s not a good basestealer (only 32/47, breakeven point is around 72%). I have to agree with Matt on this one.

    Comment by Josh — October 25, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

  11. This is simply wrong. Given his speed, Andrus’ .317 BABIP isn’t exceptionally high for a single season, and neither is his 8.0 IFH%; similarly, his 19.3 LD% isn’t exceptionally low.

    As for the base-stealing: the Rangers reportedly shut Andrus down on the thievery front for the second half of the season, and made him focus on becoming a more intelligent bandit. So far, he seems to be providing returns on that investment.

    Comment by Josh Garoon — October 25, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

  12. Gosh does this sound familiar…I could have sworn I read this somewhere. Oh right…

    http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/keeping-score-rangers-hitters-are-out-of-order

    Comment by cooberp — October 25, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

  13. Andrus seems like a pretty bad hitter overall, but he has great speed. I just like fast guys hitting 1st; if and when they get on base, in my opinion they have an effect on the pitcher. The pitcher starts to rush, loses concentration on the batter, has to make throws over, etc., etc. I don’t think this would happen as often if Andrus were up at bat with 2 outs. Also, the first baseman usually has to protect first base when there are throw overs, leading to a bigger hole on the first base side for the #2 hitter, etc.

    It may not have been quantified, but that doesn’t mean that this doesn’t actually happen and have an effect on the game. In fact, I think it has a big effect on the tone of the game. You bat him 9th and this is mostly lost, IMO.

    Comment by MC123 — October 25, 2010 @ 8:55 pm

  14. Well, if we really want to get all snarky about it:

    http://www.bbtia.com/home/2010/9/4/the-king-and-1.html

    Comment by Josh Garoon — October 25, 2010 @ 8:55 pm

  15. “You bat him 9th and this is mostly lost, IMO.”

    Why? If you bat him first, he’s guaranteed to be the leadoff hitter exactly once- to start the game.

    “I just like fast guys hitting 1st.”

    Dusty! Surely there have to be limits to this. Wily Tavares, for instance. You can’t steal first.

    (Not saying that Elvis should or shouldn’t hit first, just saying a couple of these points can be batted aside fairly easily.)

    Comment by jason B — October 25, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

  16. Pretty sure he’s talking about the .362 BABIP in the postseason.

    Comment by cpebbles — October 25, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

  17. Then why cite the season stats for base-stealing, cpebbles? After all, in the postseason, Andrus is 7 out of 8.

    Comment by Josh Garoon — October 25, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

  18. Huh, I honestly had not seen those pieces before I saw these links, although I’m not surprised that people would come to the same conclusion — I’m not making any claim to have made a marvelous, mysterious discovery.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — October 25, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

  19. Well, you can put him further down… Young and Kinsler (whichever) still have a better OBP than him in addition to being able to get extra bases; overall they are better hitters you want to get them more PAs.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — October 25, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

  20. Good point, I thought about this, but I was just suggesting the post simple “switch;” a better argument could be made for hitting Young first (the 1st spot generally sees the fewest GDP opportunities) and then Kinsler second.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — October 25, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

  21. No more a deal to me than seeing Rosenheck’s piece 10 days ago, Matt — but Joey Matches would never forgive me if I missed the obvious opportunity to post the link, right?

    Comment by Josh Garoon — October 25, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

  22. personally, i think that for next season, he should not be leading off unless he gets smarter on the basepaths and he can raise that obp. he has the speed, but not the experience on the bases yet to bring it all to bear. but for this series, he is on a hot streak, so i would leave him in the leadoff spot. dont mess with it when he is doing well and the team is playing well and everyone is comfortable. make the change during the offseason and then make him earn that leadoff spot back. but dont do it when hes on a hot streak!

    Comment by phoenix — October 25, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

  23. Doesn’t Andrus work the count as well/better than everybody in baseball? I may be mistaken but I think he sees as many pitches as anybody in baseball? Correct me if I’m wrong. Also there’s the speed presence when he’s on base it gets his 2 and 3 hitters more fastballs, of course. Sometimes there is a chemistry factor to a batting order i believe.

    Comment by Melkman — October 26, 2010 @ 1:52 am

  24. Does an accurate metric exist to measure a speedy player’s effect on a pitcher

    Comment by Trebecois — October 26, 2010 @ 10:47 am

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    Comment by sddsdf — October 26, 2010 @ 11:55 am

  26. I agree — this is the point that I was going to make. Andrus seems to have a good approach at the plate, an approach that is ideal for a lead off hitter. I can’t count how many times I have seen him make the pitcher go 5+ pitches during the first at-bat. This has to help the other hitters adjust to the pitcher.

    I’m not a stat guru, so I don’t know if there is some way to quantify or analyze this proposition but I think that this would be a better subject for this article as I think the author has mostly missed the mark.

    Comment by Matt — October 26, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

  27. Whether or not Andrus should bat first over Kinsler based on OBA, the fact is Andrus puts more pressure on the defense and pitcher than Kinsler does. If you look at the post season, many momentum swings started with Andrus’ quick feet (Just look at Game 2 against the Yankees or when the Rangers played the Rays (Price pitching))

    Kinsler may bat better than Andrus’ but Andrus has more so called ‘luck’ from plays like infield singles, forcing rushed throws, and distracting the pitcher.

    Comment by Rangers Fan — October 26, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

  28. Does the size of Texas’ win on the Teixeira trade diminish each year?

    Comment by NickC — October 26, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

  29. “Why? If you bat him first, he’s guaranteed to be the leadoff hitter exactly once- to start the game.”

    If Andrus played in the league that still plays real baseball–anybody know how much more often he’d be leading off hitting behind the pitcher?

    Comment by rick p — October 26, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  30. Over large samples, where you face avg pitching or less most of the time, the “get on base, juice head drive him in” model works. However, good pitching beats good hitting, and elite pitchers dont walk lead off hitters.

    OBP doesn’t beat elite pitching. You beat elite pitchers with speed, luck and human error. Over a large sample vs a true ace, the ace wins. You have to make the most of the opportunities you get.

    While Young, and the other hitters you mentioned may have better rate stats, they are hardly top hitters. Take away the Texas inflation, and they are decidely average. You are not going to beat Lincecum/Cain/Sanchez + pen by waiting for them to fall behind in the count, and grooving one in there for Young to knock it into the dry Texas atmosphere.

    Texas will need to play small ball, because this SF staff is way too good/deep to lose by “rate stat” baseball. When facing a Lincecum/Cain, a fluke infield hit by a speedy Andrus might be more probable than a walk or line drive by the hitters you mentioned. Personally, I would choose the speed.

    Comment by this guy — October 26, 2010 @ 11:14 pm

  31. “Why? If you bat him first, he’s guaranteed to be the leadoff hitter exactly once- to start the game.”

    Exactly. And if you bat him 9th, instead of 1st, he’s garaunteed to lose that garauntee.

    “Dusty! Surely there have to be limits to this. Wily Tavares, for instance. You can’t steal first.”

    Yeah obviously – I never said anyone fast is fit to bat first. I was trying to say that if you’re going to bat someone fast IN THE LINEUP, you’re better off batting them first. Taveras I wouldn’t bat anywhere in the lineup, not even 9th.

    You are picking at my post without addressing the core message.

    Comment by MC123 — October 27, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

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